Green admits he wasn't aggressive for Celtics

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Green admits he wasn't aggressive for Celtics

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @sherrodbcsn
With a roster full of Hall-of-Fame bound talent around him, Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green was smart enough to know he couldn't come in and immediately look to take over.

But in a radio interview on Thursday, Green acknowledged that he should have looked to assert himself more.

"I should have been more aggressive when I look back on it now," Green told ESPN 980 in Washington, DC. "That's what they brought me in for."

On Feb. 24, the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, to Oklahoma City for Green and Nenad Krstic.

The C's made the deal banking on Shaquille O'Neal being healthy enough to fill the void left by Perkins. But a series of injuries led to O'Neal seeing limited action in the regular season. He was an even bigger non-factor in the playoffs, logging just 12 minutes total. Last week, O'Neal announced his retirement after 19 NBA seasons.

However, the addition of Green was supposed to bolster a Celtics bench that could have used a versatile player to play both forward positions. This was particularly important at the small forward position. After Marquis Daniels' season-ending spinal cord injury, Boston had no true backup for Paul Pierce until they traded for Green.

While Green had his moments, the aggressiveness that he played with at Georgetown and later, Oklahoma City, was there only in short, inconsistent bursts.

"Being a young guy in this league," said Green, who averaged 9.8 points off the bench for the Celtics, "it's tough coming in where you got Kevin Garnett on one side, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo now who's been with that team for a long time. It was tough for me to come in and be 'the man,' coming off the bench, it was tough. In my mind, I'm thinking, 'Those guys preach, sharing the ball, sharing the ball.' It was kind of, 'You gotta be aggressive . . .' but I didn't want to step on anybody's toes. Now I look back at it now, I should have taken it for a grain of salt and take my slice of the pie. I don't think I did that when I came into that situation."

Even though he only played in 26 regular-season games plus nine playoff games with the Celtics, Green made quite an impression on Garnett.

"Jeff is probably one of the most versatile guys I've been around," Garnett said this past season. "He does a lot of things that, he just makes it look simple. I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad he's an addition to our team."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
 
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
 
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
 
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
 
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
 
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
 
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
 
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
 
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
 
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
 
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
 
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
 
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
 
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
 
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
 
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
 
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
 
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
 
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
 
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.